Liberty Utilities working to prevent wildfires through multiple mitigation efforts
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.— In an effort to combat wildfires in the region and upgrade systems to top-notch safety standards, Liberty Utilities has unveiled their Wildfire Mitigation and Vegetation Management Plan in the Tahoe/Sierra region.
“Liberty’s focus is always on reliability and safety,” said a Liberty Utilities representative. “We’re focusing on safety. That includes our employees, our contractors who are out there doing the work. Also the customers and the communities. So with the increased risk of fire in our service territory, we are really focusing on, in addition to the traditional concerns with electric safety, also safety with regards to wildfire risk in a lot of our projects now.”
Ways that is being done is through vegetation management and system hardening, situational awareness, and public safety power shutoffs.
Liberty was able to lead a small group through one of the many places they are going the extra-mile at through work with the National Forest Foundation and the US Forest Service, including power line corridor resiliency.
This comes through the strategic cutting down of trees and large branches that could eventually fall onto a power line running through the various sectors run by Library Utilities in the region. A small number of trees have been marked to be taken down by the USFS, but there are a number of other mitigation efforts happening in order to make the smallest impact on the environment while promoting safety.
Another way promote safety is though system hardening, which is a number of initiatives taken to improve equipment being used. The use of covered conductors is a growing way to increase safety, along with updating poles through replacements, potentially moving small portions of grids underground, and the removal of tree attachments, among others.
It was mentioned during the tour that although underground grids are somewhat safer, they prove to be challenging when trying to reach during heavy periods of snow.
Other ways to increase safety is through situational awareness through assessments and mapping of areas for wildfire risk, and developing framework for all types of situations, including for periods of extreme weather.
The partnerships don’t stop with the NFF and the USFS, as Liberty Utilities will also bring on other professionals in the fields that pertain to these safety precautions, such as utility arborists to help ensure the health of the forest and give back to the vegetation of the land.
The work is already beginning, with Liberty Utilizes set to complete an upgrade of the primary overhead power line and secondary connections on Fallen Leaf Road between Emigrant Road and the Fallen Leaf Marina.
Work will begin Wednesday, Nov. 8, and will continue onto Thursday, Nov. 9, before finishing on Monday, Nov. 13.
Due to safety concerns, the work will need to be completed during daylight hours. There will be installation of new power lines, requiring Liberty Utilities to close access to Fallen Leaf Road in order to lay the new lines and lift them into place.
Access to Fallen Leaf Road, from Emigrant Road south to the firehouse, will be closed from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3 p.m-6:30 p.m. each of the days scheduled for work to be done, where access will be allowed between 2-3 p.m. every day.
Access will be permitted in the case of an emergency. During the day time, closure traffic will be held at the intersection of Tahoe Mountain and Fallen Leaf Road.
Residents north of Emigrant Road will be allowed access as necessary. In order to eliminate or minimize congestion with Liberty Utilities moving their equipment off of Fallen Leaf Road for the 2-3 p.m. opening window, the team asks that anyone who will need access to the road wait until 2 p.m. to arrive at the Tahoe Mountain/Fallen Leaf intersection.
To learn more about Liberty Utilities and their fire mitigation efforts, visit libertyenergyandwater.com.
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